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Editorial: Missing ‘gateway’ for Greenfield

A visit the other day to Pittsfield by the Massachusetts Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus served as an unpleasant reminder.

It’s not a problem with the caucus or with the state-devised program that puts resources into the effort to shore up these communities as economic engines in their area of the commonwealth.

No, what remains disappointing here is that Greenfield is not part of the program.

Now, we realize that Greenfield qualifies as a small city, and therefore doesn’t make the cut as far as the Gateway Cities population requirement of a population of more than 35,000 and less than 250,000. But as the largest community — and only city — in Franklin County, the designation could prove to be beneficial in aiding economic development here as the hub of the county.

We see that benefit in the kind of help that is available through state government, such as state grants, tax credits and programs designated specifically for those cities under the Gateway Cities umbrella. While there are other forms of aid and help through the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, programs, services and money that is available to all of the communities in Massachusetts, what’s available to the Gateway-specific communities helps provide them with an additional leg up when it comes to economic development.

But even with the services and grants that Greenfield can qualify for, a Gateway City designation would provide the municipality with a certain cachet, one that would help it be noticed, and not take a back seat to some of the larger communities to our south.

Five years ago on this page, we wrote about how 11 cities had gotten the state’s attention when it came to economic development, thus the creation of the Gateway Cities designation. We saw the wisdom of this joint effort and thought that Greenfield and some of the smaller cities, like Great Barrington and Taunton, would benefit from a like-minded approach since these communities share many of the same issues that their larger counterparts have and are going through.

That hasn’t changed.

In the years since communities with the Gateway Cities designation have doubled around the state, but Greenfield remains on the outside.

It would seem that the state has its blinders on when it comes to Greenfield and Franklin County ... and that’s disappointing.

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